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ICSA says good weaning standards must not be allowed to slide

Sep 20, 2013 | Press Releases | 0 comments

20th September, 2013

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association has said that good weaning standards adopted under the now-defunct Suckler Welfare Scheme must not be allowed to slide, despite the abolition of financial supports.

ICSA suckler committee chair Dermot Kelleher said, “It seems that a certain amount of farmers are abandoning the principles of good weaning practice recently. I have seen evidence of it at marts with calves making a lot of noise because they haven’t been properly weaned.”

“Furthermore, I reckon those calves that could be guaranteed to be weaned and on meal were worth an additional €100 to €150 in the sales ring.”

Mr Kelleher says farmers must recognise that proper weaning practice is beneficial for the calf, for themselves and everyone in the supply chain, including live exporters, who report far fewer instances of illnesses in calves that have been correctly weaned. “The suckler industry has seen huge improvements as a result of the Suckler Welfare Scheme, and despite its abolition last year I would call on all farmers to make sure they do not abandon the beneficial farm management principles behind that improvement.”

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ICSA president Sean McNamara has said the decision by the EU Council of Environment ministers to pass the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) today will cause serious unease amongst many Irish farmers. “As it stands, we have no clarity around how this law will be implemented in Ireland and what the consequences will be, especially for those on peaty soils. It is yet another example of an initiative being imposed on farmers that is heavy on targets and light on how those targets will be met or how they will be funded,” he said.

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